Candied pecans are an addictively crunchy snack or sweet topping! Add them to salads, cupcakes, cheese boards, and more! Naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
Candied pecans are the ultimate mashup of sweet and savory. Buttery pecans bake in a cinnamon sugar coating until fragrant, crunchy, and downright addictive.
- Easy to make – Candied nuts are easy to make at home and they’re affordable too! Store-bought versions can be costly.
- Makes a great gift – Perfect for the holidays. My friends and family love them, kids included!
- Versatile – While snacking is always encouraged, they also make a fantastic topping to salads, cupcakes, yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, and cheeseboards.
To top things off, the house smells like a cinnamon cookie while they bake! This recipe for candied pecans is foolproof, with perfectly spiced and sweet results.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Egg white – The frothed egg white behaves similar to a meringue in the hot oven. It dries out and adheres the sugar to the nuts, giving you a sweet, crisp exterior.
- Sugar – To sweeten the pecans. For a more caramel-like flavor, you can swap with brown sugar.
- Cinnamon – Optional, but highly recommended! You can swap the cinnamon with pumpkin pie spice in the fall.
- Salt – A small amount of salt enhances sweetness!
- Vanilla – Adds a slight vanilla essence. If you don’t have vanilla, the candied nuts will still taste delicious!
- Pecans – You can use pecan halves or chopped pecans! I prefer to use halves for snacking and chopped pecans for topping. The method and cooking time is the same. Just keep an eye on them as they bake.
How to make candied pecans:
Before you begin, preheat the oven to 250°F. And line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to prevent sticking.
- Beat the egg white and vanilla with a whisk until nice and frothy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Then add the pecans to the egg white and mix well.
- Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Remove the nuts from the egg whites with a slotted spoon and add them to the bowl with the sugar mixture. Toss with the cinnamon sugar until evenly coated.
- Transfer the coated pecans to the prepared baking sheet and spread them into an even layer.
- Bake the pecans, stirring every 15 minutes, until evenly browned and crisp, about 45 minutes total.
- Cool the pecans completely before transferring them into an airtight container.
Tips for Success:
- Whisk the egg whites until very frothy. See the picture above for reference. Frothy egg whites cling to the pecans for the perfect amount of crunch.
- Stir the nuts every 15 minutes or so, checking for doneness. Stirring encourages them to cook and brown evenly.
- The pecans will continue to harden as they cool. Give them a few minutes or so and they will be perfectly crunchy!
- Store – Candied pecans last for up to three weeks. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator.
- Freeze – They freeze well too! Transfer the nuts to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 2 months. If you freeze them too long, you risk freezer burn.
Ways to enjoy candied pecans:
- Add to strawberry, feta, and mixed green salads for a sweet, nutty crunch!
- Add to vanilla ice cream and drizzle with caramel.
- Sprinkle over pumpkin pie, mini carrot cake, or pumpkin pancakes!
- Place a small bowl on your next cheese or charcuterie board.
- For a sweet breakfast, stir into Greek yogurt, oatmeal, or overnight oats.
More nuts you can candy:
You can use this recipe to candy other nuts as well. Or feel free to use a combination! Here’s a few options to try:
If your pecans taste chewy instead of crisp, you didn’t bake them long enough or you didn’t whip your egg whites enough. The egg whites need to time to dry out and crisp in the oven.
The terms are used interchangeably, but technically they are not the same. Candied nuts are made with egg whites and sugar, giving them a sweet, crisp exterior. Glazed pecans are typically made with butter and sugar or corn syrup.
Nope! Candied pecans are shelf stable. You can store them on the counter for up to three weeks.
Easy Candied Pecans
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons (45g) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (130g) pecans Note 1
- Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a silicone mat.
- In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Whisk the egg white and vanilla extract until nice and frothy, about 3-4 minutes. (Make sure the mixture is frothy, as pictured above.)
- Add the chopped pecans to the frothed egg white and mix well.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the nuts and toss the pecans with the sugar mixture until the nuts are evenly coated.
- Transfer the coated pecans onto a prepared baking sheet and spread them into a single layer.
- Bake the pecans, stirring and checking every 15 minutes, until the nuts are evenly browned and crisp, about 45 minutes.
- Cool completely before storing. If desired, you can chop the candied pecans into smaller pieces for topping.
Tips & Notes:
– Store: Candied pecans last for up to three weeks. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.
– Freeze: They freeze well too! Transfer the nuts to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 2 months. If you freeze them too long, you risk freezer burn.
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